Applying for bursaries, but how confidential is it?

(13 Posts)
nomorechildren Thu 10-Apr-14 20:24:26

DD will sit assessments for 3 private schools.

We are applying for bursaries for all of them. I have read lots of helpful advice from here (which convinced us to take the plunge and apply) and have gone through the procedure of chatting with bursar, trying to get an indication of how much we may be awarded etc.

That I'm not worried about. I suppose I'm worried about the inconsistency in how the schools approach this.

Two schools ask that you have all your paperwork in before the assessment. Then they will write to you after the assessment and let you know whether dd has secured a place and how much (if any) bursary will be awarded.

I suppose I wonder whether dd will be flagged up as 'bursary candidate', during the assessment and whether this may work against her as it will be costing them to have her at the school, rather than the other way round?

The remaining school operate in a totally different way - dd sits the assessment like everyone else, then if she gets in, that's when we contact the bursar and apply for the bursary. This school said it was to avoid the 'problem' I've outlined above and dd will be assessed, irrespective of whether we can afford the fees or not.

Which is the 'right' way and does anyone have any thoughts?

Thanks very much.

middleclassonbursary Thu 10-Apr-14 20:42:54

There is no "right way" you just have to apply to your chosen schools, sit the entrance exams, accept their individual procedures and keep your fingers crossed.
I accept your concern that the first two could take into account your daughter performance and her need for a bursary when deciding to offer her a place but the third one could look at your daughters performance in the exam and then tailor the size of the bursary offered according to her results, if she's passed but not done as brilliantly as they might like they can ensure that the bursary is not large enough to enable her to accept the place. I think this makes sense!
The only fair way to do it is of course to offer the bursary before she sits the entrance exam then it's not being influenced in any way by how well she does but few will do this.

nomorechildren Thu 10-Apr-14 20:51:46

Thanks middleclass, was hoping you'd respond, read much of your advice on other threads.

In fact, you helped us to go for it - saying something along the lines to another poster 'well someone has to be awarded the bursary' - I though, yes, why not?!

Didn't even think about that possibility for the last school, so good to flag up. All say they won't offer before, as they don't know how much they have in pot for new applications and existing students who may need financial assistance.

Any other tips? There doesn't seem to be a breakdown on any of the forms for all your monthly outgoings such as food, petrol, childcare, etc - I was thinking of adding an extra sheet to illustrate this breakdown (to show we have nothing spare!) - do you think this is necessary or not?

starving Thu 10-Apr-14 21:18:54

We were never asked about outgoings, only to see a copy of bank statements, which tells the story anyway.

At DDs school we applied for bursary at same time as applying for school. We filled in the (lengthy) form and supplied evidence etc. The letter about the bursary came in a sealed envelope inside the place offer envelope.

At the same time we applied to another school which asked for a basic form to be filled in at that time, with a detailed form to be completed if/when a place was offered & accepted. DD got a place but no bursary. And that was the school that made a big deal of their bursaries!

No-one in the school has ever mentioned anything to dd (or us) about her in receipt of a bursary. She certainly hasn't been treated any differently to any of her peers.

nomorechildren Thu 10-Apr-14 21:25:46

I'm not bothered or worried about dd being treated differently by her peers. No one will ever know (if she gets in) that she's there on a bursary.

My point is I wonder how many staff know before the assessment and whether that influences their decision when assessing her?

Starving, you say you applied for bursary at same time for applying for school. Was it a selective school, do you mean at the time you registered her or when she sat assessment?

I think I'll just include bank statements then, if they need any further information, I'm sure they'll ask.

Thanks

KildrummyDriver Thu 10-Apr-14 21:55:00

There's not really much difference between how these schools are working and I think that the outcome would be the same regardless. Most schools will be careful to separate DD's child's effort and ability in prepping for and taking the exam from your and their ability to fund them. The first two schools will probably offer places regardless of whether they are affordable so that DD gets genuine feedback and does not feel responsible if her place proves impossible to fund.

Remember, most schools have limited funding and cannot afford to support all of the children who apply for bursaries. They will be pragmatic and take as many bursary candidates as they can but there will be lower achieving children who can pay full fees offered places as well. DD is in a competition to win a place and, separately, to score more than the other bursary candidates and thus win funding. IME, schools would rather unsuccessful bursary candidates were left with an understanding that they did well enough to win a place but the school couldn't afford it than 'I wasn't clever enough to go to that school'.

So my tips would be:

- To talk this through honestly with DD so that she understands all the possible outcomes and you know in advance what you will say and do in the event of each one.

- To be scrupulously honest in filling out the forms so that you are seen as credible and not trying to' pull the wool'.

I hope that makes sense! Let me know if it doesn't.

Good luck - and do report back afterwards. The number of threads that leave contributors not knowing the outcome...

KildrummyDriver Thu 10-Apr-14 21:58:22

What I forgot to add is that very few staff, pupils and other parents know who is on a bursary and very few are interested! It's worth being honest with DD but explaining to her that it is a private (not secret) matter so shouldn't be discussed.

nomorechildren Thu 10-Apr-14 22:59:25

Thanks Kildrummy. All such helpful advice.

I'm not going to tell dd about funds (or lack of) at this stage. I want to be really relaxed about the whole process, not make her feel like she has to overcompensate and perform with the added pressure of her only getting a place attached to bursary. She's clueless about that side of things and doesn't know how much dh earns and would never be interested enough to ask.

All I can hope that she does her best and the school see potential in her. I don't meant to sound boastful, but I'd be surprised if she doesn't perform really well in the academic assessment. She's roughly about 2 years ahead of her peers (not us as deluded parents thinking that btw) but isn't particularly diligent or disciplined.

If things don't work out, then I'll look it at it as they aren't the best match to help her fulfil her potential and that she isn't suited to that particular school.

If she does get an offer, we'll bring up the subject of the bursary then and absolutely reinforce that it is indeed private. All the schools have been adamant that if it was to be discussed with others, it would be pulled straightaway, which is of course, absolutely right.

nomorechildren Thu 10-Apr-14 23:04:22

Oh and of course will report back!

middleclassonbuesary Thu 10-Apr-14 23:12:54

We've just completed this years form but I can't remember exactly what we're asked, definitely assets, salary, mortgage payments, pension payments, student loan, other debts including credit cards, over draughts, cost of other children/dependents, we don't have to include bank statement but P60's etc. There is a space on our form for adding other things if you want too, petrol's a big bill for us as we both commute a long way for work, when it threatened to hit £1.50 a litre and still keep rising and we would be easily spending easily £130 a week on fuel, we thought we might have to mention it and ask for it to be taken into consideration but I changed my job and reduced the bill a little. Our school seems to add up your big expenses take it from your income, your assets are charged at 10% and they add this to the remaining balance and then you have to pay a % of this towards the fees does that make sense? Not sure it does really.
We were very lucky we could informally apply for an indication of the size of bursary we were likely to be offered even before registering our DS. Although in fact we waited until he'd been pre tested at yr 6, and offered a provisional place dependent on him passing the entrance exam at the end of yr 8 and then applied for the indication at the beginning of yr 7. We completed the form but didn't include the necessary paper work and within 10 days got a letter stating that with the figures we provided he would be offered a X% bursary. We then applied formally in the February of yr 8 and received a definite offer, which was slightly larger than we'd been originally offered, in April of yr 8 although he still hadn't sat the entrance exam. It really helped getting a provisional offer because he was also offered a place at another school with a big bursary pot but not very convenient for us and we had to confirm or reject the place by the beginning of yr 8.
I'm so pleased I helped and encouraged you to apply for a bursary best of luck do let me know how you get on.

nomorechildren Thu 10-Apr-14 23:34:56

Thank you middleclass, that is an amazing success story for your son, you must be thrilled that he is having such an incredible educational experience and journey.

You've been so generous with your advice, not just to me on this thread, but always to others too - it's so kind and insightful to hear of others who have been through this whole experience.

I'll update as soon as I have news - the very best of luck to your son for his future studies and to anyone else who decides to apply for a bursary.

LisasCat Thu 10-Apr-14 23:41:40

I'm an admissions registrar. I ask parents to submit the bursary paperwork before their daughter sits the exam. However, the two things are handled separately, the Bursar doesn't know about exam results, the Head doesn't know who applied for a bursary. I'm the only person who knows both things and I don't decide either of them. The Bursar identifies the percentage of support a family would be eligible for. Then he meets the Head after the exams, who has already decided who will be offered places. He sats the names of all bursary applicants, she says if they have a place. That way, when I write to families offering a place, I can tell them at the same time how much financial assistance is offered. It speeds the process up.

Dreamgirls234 Fri 11-Apr-14 11:46:14

There's no right way honestly every school is different! Some are more relaxed and others aren't. The more selective generally like paperwork in before entrance exam. My dd will be attending ackworth and they wanted paperwork afterwards. It's generally your outgoings rent/morgarage cars and luxury items you may own. And a few other details. This is just to see if you could make a contribution anywhere some schools say £20-50 a month if you are willing. Everything is kept confidential and very few staff know. It's only mainly the head admissons officer and busar and maybe house staff.

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